EXPLAINED: A step-by-step guide to car insurance for foreigners in Czechia

From finding the right provider to choosing the right coverage, our guide to insuring your ride will help you (legally) hit the road.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 09.01.2024 17:04:42 (updated on 09.01.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

Whether you’re buying a new or used car within the Czech Republic or importing your vehicle from outside the country, you’ll need to secure auto insurance to drive legally and avoid paying fines. Starting on January 1, 2024, some scooters will also need to be covered

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to secure the right policy for your needs. “In recent years, there has been a significant trend towards increased digitalization in the insurance industry, making the process of obtaining insurance notably more convenient,” Jan Dofek, car insurance product manager at Direct pojišťovna, told Expats. 

Still, it can be tricky to figure out the rules of the road as a foreigner—particularly if you struggle with the Czech language. With Dofek’s help, we’ve mapped out the process of securing the right coverage for your car in four straightforward steps. 

Find the right insurance provider

There’s no one-size-fits-all car insurance solution. Dofek advises that consumers consider a few key factors. “First off, think about how you use your car because that's a big factor in determining the right insurance limits,” he says. “Starting next year, the minimum limit for liability insurance is set at 50 million. However, if you're a frequent highway driver or often take your car abroad, it's a good idea to consider a higher limit.”

You might also want to consider your preferred way of doing business with your insurance company, Dofek says. Traditionalists who prefer to visit their insurer in person should look for a company that makes it easy to secure an appointment at a local branch. But those who prefer the convenience of digital documents should seek out a company that will deliver online quotes and electronic documents, like those available through a reliable mobile app.

Register for insurance

Every registered vehicle in the Czech Republic is required to have compulsory liability (povinné ručení) insurance before it leaves the lot. If you are at fault for an accident, your liability insurance will cover any necessary medical care and/or property damage incurred by other people. You’ll need proof of liability insurance to register a vehicle in your name, whether it’s a new or used car. 

Comprehensive insurance (havarijní pojištění) will cover the damage to your property as well as other people’s, which makes it a wise choice—one accident could set you back tens of thousands of crowns without a comprehensive plan. Comprehensive insurance also covers other types of damage your car may incur throughout its lifetime, including theft, vandalism, extreme weather damage, and damage resulting from a collision with a wild animal.

Many insurance companies make it easy to register for insurance online using your registration number (SPZ) and your name. You can decide whether to get insured immediately or from a future date.

Get an inspection

Inspections are required for purchasers of comprehensive auto insurance. New car owners can skip this step—you aren’t required to arrange an inspection for a car whose date of first service is no greater than five days from the start date of the insurance policy. On the flip side, if you’re buying a used vehicle, it must be inspected within five days of the date your policy begins. Check with your insurance provider for instructions about how to arrange an inspection; Direct, for example, allows customers to make an appointment through their app, or to conduct their own inspection with the help of the app.

Cars purchased abroad have a unique set of requirements, Dofek says. Cars imported from another country in the European Economic Area) must be deregistered in their country of origin and registered in the Czech Republic within 30 days, and the policyholder must have a permanent or correspondence address in the Czech Republic or be a legal entity registered in the Czech Republic.

Cars imported from non-EEA countries must be approved for operation and receive a full technical inspection before they can be registered and insured; they cannot be older than eight years.

Alternatively, Dofek says, “If you arrive in the Czech Republic with your foreign vehicle and possess a valid foreign insurance policy, you're allowed to drive that vehicle on Czech roads for a maximum of 6 months. After this period, you will need to register the vehicle in the Czech Republic and obtain a Czech insurance policy to continue using it legally.”

Keep your documents on hand

Once you’re covered, your insurance company will send you your International Motor Insurance Card, commonly known as a “green card” (zelená karta, although it may not necessarily be green in color), which is the proof-of-coverage documentation you’ll need to keep with you when you’re on the road and show the police if you’re pulled over. Some companies, like Direct, provide coverage information in an app, which is also a permissible way to present proof of insurance in the Czech Republic during a roadside inspection. 

Your green card will also list the other countries where your insurance policy covers you—great information to have on hand if you make road trips abroad—although it’s a good idea to keep a paper copy of your insurance on hand in your glove compartment when traveling outside of the Czech Republic.

This article was written in cooperation with DIRECT pojištovna a.s.. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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